Home invader who attacked woman with knife jailed for 7 years

October 27, 2021

A man who tried to put a pillow over the face of a woman after he sneaked into her home and then repeatedly stabbed her has been jailed for seven years.

The attacker, who had previously pleaded guilty to the brutal incident at Oldtown in Letterkenny in July, 2020, cannot be named.

He previously appeared before Judge John Aylmer at Letterkenny Circuit Court where details of the terrifying ordeal were given in evidence.

The man had pleaded guilty to a number of charges including aggravated burglary, assault causing harm and breaching a barring order.

Previous court evidence heard how the accused had been barred form the house just a few hours earlier.

But he returned and crept upstairs into the woman’s bedroom before launching into a sustained attack on the victim.

The woman told Gardai in her victim impact statement that she recognised the man entering her bedroom and asked “What the hell are you doing here?”

However, the attacker began stabbing her in the forehead and chest and said “I will kill you now.”

The woman realised blood was dripping from her forehead and said “I thought I was going to die.”

The court heard how the women’s children were left terrified after being awoken during the ordeal.

The woman’s brave young son had even managed to help to stop the man from attacking his mother even more.

The man eventually left the house and Gardai arrived on the scene after they had received a ‘999’ call from the woman’s terrified son.

They followed a trail of blood from the kitchen of the house to 300 metres away in a field.

He was suffering from a number of self-inflicted stab wounds and was covered in blood.

The court was told that but for the quick intervention of Detective Garda Stephen McGonagle there could have been more serious consequences.

The attacker was taken to hospital and asked the detective why he had saved him.

Barrister for the accused, Mr Damian Crawford, said his client still had a key to the house and had not broken in.

This was disputed by the woman who said the doors had been locked on the night and said “I have no idea how he got it.”

Two of the women’s children still suffered from the ordeal and could not sleep without the lights being on.

The court was told the accused had been involved in the military and had a number of previous convictions.

Passing sentence yesterday Judge Aylmer said he placed all the charges at the upper scale of such incidents.

He said there were many aggravating factors including the fact that he left the woman and her children fearing that he was going to kill them.

He added that it was only fortuitous that the woman’s injuries were not more serious.

He said the mitigating factors were unfortunately few but the most important was his guilty plea which spared his victims further trauma.

He sentenced the accused to eight years in prison on the aggravated burglary charge, a further 3 years for assault causing harm and eight months for breaching a barring order with all sentences to run concurrently.

Judge Aylmer said he would suspend the last 12 months of the sentence if he enters a bond to keep the peace and not to reoffend and backdated the sentence to when the man went into custody.

He further ordered him to attend anger management and domestic violence classes as well as ordering the man to reside outside of Co Donegal and not have any contact with his family.